Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Monday that the California Department of Justice will create a new anti-methamphetamine team of Special Agents based in Los Angeles funded by a $1 million federal grant. Transnational criminal organizations have made California the single biggest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States, with 70% entering through the San Diego Port of Entry.
“Transnational criminal organizations have made California the largest point of entry for methamphetamine into the United States,” Attorney General Harris said. “This funding supports the California Department of Justice’s crackdown on this devastating drug by strengthening our enforcement capabilities.”
The California Department of Justice team will be comprised of six Special Agents assigned to investigate illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in California. The team will work in a coordinated effort with other existing California Department of Justice task forces including The Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT).
“The production and use of meth is a serious threat to the health and safety of our communities,” Ronald L. Davis, COPS Office Director said. “I am pleased to make $6 million available to help state law enforcement agencies fight the abuse of this highly addictive drug.”
The California Department of Justice currently leads 18 task forces across the state, including LA IMPACT, which is a compilation of numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County. The primary focus of LA IMPACT is to investigate major crimes, with an emphasis on dismantling mid to major level drug trafficking organizations
Last month, LA IMPACT worked with local and federal law enforcement agencies to execute dozens of search warrants and arrests linked to businesses suspected of using “Black Market Peso Exchange” schemes to launder narcotics proceeds linked to Mexican drug cartels. The operation resulted in the seizure of more than $90 million in illicit funds.
This federal grant was secured through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) within the U.S. Department of Justice. COPS works to advance the practice of community policing in America’s state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies by sharing information and making grants to police departments around the United States. This annual grant program was open to state law enforcement agencies authorized to engage in or supervise anti-methamphetamine investigative activities.
In March, Attorney General Harris called the trafficking of methamphetamine a growing threat to the state and a top priority for law enforcement in a report, Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime, which is the first comprehensive report analyzing the current state of transnational criminal organizations in California. The report also outlined recommendations to address this problem, which include increased funding for state anti-narcotics trafficking task forces and additional coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combatting transnational criminal organizations. The report is available here: https://oag.ca.gov/transnational-organized-crime.
Following the release of this report, Attorney General Harris led a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico to strengthen working relationships between the governments of both countries and enhance efforts to combat transnational crime. The delegation met with Mexican state attorneys general and federal officials to discuss the issues of drug, human and firearms trafficking, money laundering and high-tech crime.